Solar stocks soar in 2019

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A true representation of health in any industry is said industry’s standing in the stock market. That sounds painfully simple, and it is, but sometimes we can get so lost in the weeds between policy, emerging technology, legal battles and system failures that we forget what makes the world go round: money.

And, while we can sit here for hours analyzing every single publicly-traded solar company, there is a better way: the Invesco Solar ETF (TAN:NYSE Arca). For anyone new to this terminology, an exchange traded fund (ETF) is essentially a traded product that is tied to a basket of underlying individual stocks. These are popular for getting a diversified holding in a low-cost way, because as stocks they are liquid and have low management fees, as they are tied to an index or a sector.

Going back to Invesco Solar, the ETF has seen incredible growth inn the past year, rising more than 50% year to date (YTD). While 50% is obviously a great figure, for comparison, the broader market’s has risen 15% (YTD), while the S&P Energy Sector, is actually down 2% on the year. Numerically, the ETF stood at $29.28/share at the close of market yesterday, as compared to its $19.58/share open to begin 2019.
And, as we explained earlier, ETFs are driven by the companies and assets that they hold, which means that these companies must be doing well themselves. Well, the Invesco Solar ETF includes major players Solaredge (9.2% of the ETF’s composition), Enphase (6.4%), Sunrun (6.4%), First Solar (8.8%) and SunPower (unlisted), so let’s take a look at how those five are doing (all figures listed in USD).
  • Solaredge currently sits at $87.22, up from $36.15 to start the year, a growth of 141%
  • Enphase is at $24.25, up from $4.92 at the start of the year, though down from the company’s $34.83 peak in August, good for a YTD growth of 393%
  • Sunrun comes in at $16.55, up from the year’s 10.98 start, though down from its 20.39 July peak, good for 51% growth
  • First Solar is at $56.96, up from a $42.56 start and down from a $67.31 peak, good for 34% growth
  • Sunpower is at $10.12, up from a $5.07 start and down from a $15.10 peak, good for just under 100% growth

The success of the Invesco Solar ETF is reassuring for an industry that has taken off exponentially in the past decade. What’s more is that the companies listed above appear to be going through more than quick booms. Nearly all of those companies reached their peaks earlier in the year and have since fallen. And, while falling is not a good thing, it can be interpreted as one, as each stock has recovered in turn, building a base of consistent week-to-week and month-to-month growth.